By Andrew Johnson

FENNVILLE – The North Muskegon boys basketball had a fun “Cinderella” type of run in the state tournament, but it came to an end on Thursday with a 70-38 loss to Grand Rapids Covenant Christian in the Division 3 regional championship game at Fennville High School.

“It was a great run,” said Norse coach Chuck Rypstra, whose team finished 10-9 on the season and won a Division 3 district championship. “I’m really proud of the guys. They did a great job. We needed a lot of things to really go well tonight to beat that team. They’re tough and it’s good for our guys to see that and aspire to be like that in the future.”

Brennen McManus pushes the ball across half court for North Muskegon. Photo/Jason Goorman

The Norse held strong in the first quarter, trailing just 14-8 at the first buzzer. Senior Brennen McManus and sophomore Troy McManus had three points for the Norse.

Grand Rapids Covenant Christian began to dominate in the second quarter, outscoring North Muskegon 18-9 to extend the Norse deficit to 32-17 at halftime. Senior Marcellus Rouse had four points to pace the Norse offense in the second quarter.

The third quarter wasn’t much different, when Grand Rapids Covenant Christian again caught fire with seven different players scoring. At the end of the third quarter, North Muskegon trailed 49-26.

With the game all but decided, the Norse were outscored 21-12 in the fourth quarter.

North Muskegon hit only 14 of 43 shots from the floor, and hurt itself with 19 turnovers.

Troy McManus led the Norse with nine points while Brennen McManus and Rouse each finished with six.

“I’m really happy,” said Brennen McManus about the legacy his senior class left. “I feel like we did a good job setting an example, and I think in the next couple years they’ll make some good runs again.”

North Muskegon will lose eight seniors, and Rypstra is thankful for everything they gave.

“They’ve been great,” the coach said. “This is my seventh year and I love this senior class. I’ll always remember them, and they got me my first regional win. They’re good guys and they’ll always be welcome back.”

Rypstra is also hopeful that the younger players on his team now have the blueprint for future success. 

“I told them to remember this and let it burn a little bit,” he said. “Know what you want, and go out and get it.”